"To grab a coffee on the go is not really a fika," explains Johanna Kindvall, co-author and illustrator of new lifestyle cookbook Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Rather, she continues, "if you have a cup of coffee on a bench in the park, alone or with a friend, I would say it's a fika, especially if you brought a treat."
And in their new book, Kindvall, along with Anna Brones of Foodie Underground, explore the Swedish notion of "fika," a term that references breaking during the day to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, sometimes with a baked good, with or without a friend. "There are not so many rules. At the moment I'm having a five minute fika on top of my stoop, enjoying the sun, waving to the postman and a neighbor ... Fika can be as simple as that," Kindvall concludes.
Swedish fika culture took root around the early 20th century, and while nowadays the notion of fika can apply to many different life scenarios, a true fika calls for coffee enjoyed with a traditional Swedish baked good like vetebullar (cinnamon and cardamom rolls) and fikonrutor (fig almond squares). Recipes for which are included in the book, alongside other classic and modern fika pairings like kumminskorpor (caraway crackers) and kronans kaka (almond-potato cake).
But the idea behind fika itself is easy enough. It's about making time during the day to take a break. Savoring a moment in life. Stopping to appreciate an everyday ritual as simple as coffee. Or maybe during the winter glögg.
Fika is published by Ten Speed Press and hits shelves today. Or, scoop it up now from Amazon. Preview, below.